East Himalaya

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Let there be Light

The Durga Puja Festival and the Festival of Light, Diwali has just completed. This was almost a festival month across India with celebrations, mainly at night with full lights and fire crackers. During this month long holiday many people decided to Celebrate the Festival of Light at Tiger Hill early morning. The rising sun, the lights on the mighty Khangchendzonga and a few other snow capped peaks, the music of the birds waking to the sun is no less a festival of lights and practically lights up the inside, a rare opportunity to get the real blessings. Any nature’s festival makes everyone happy, without making any difference between rich and the poor, the powerful and the downtrodden, the believer or atheist, the fair and the dark, the good and the bad. We did have many such events and traditions before, which make everyone happy, and now the time has arrived when we should try and patronize such rare activities. 

Only last week while on the speeding train through many unknown village landscapes, I woke up early morning, and peeping through the window, to my amazement I noticed there were people squatting beside the railway line for the morning clearance, which certainly is not very uncommon, but some of them speaking on their mobile during their action. Sometimes it is hard to understand, what is more important, the mobile phone or the sanitary toilets.
Similarly, many urban priorities have reached the villages. We often see that development means urbanization; and urbanization means display of resource wastage. This has even entered our villages. We have been removed from several of our village traditions. Specially waking and sleeping by the natural light, all of it mostly using more of our never ending resources like solar, wind etc, instead of electricity for lights and air-conditions at almost all working and living spaces. Our city malls are more active at night and most of them are lit up all night for reasons unknown.

Experience their ancestors, the village mall, called HAAT, a weekly market which started on the basis of barter system between several clusters of villages and exists even today with no carbon footprints or guilt to follow. In most places it starts early in the morning, at some places a little late, but finishes by day light. Some bamboo with simple roofing plastics are used by the little bigger traders, the small village producer simply put their products on the ground for sale.
From Bamboo, cows, bullocks to fish, vegetables and tea, all that we need to lead a village life is available here. These are mostly sold by the producers themselves and they get their money directly through a process which may be termed as Fair-trade. Again these producers with the money they have generated from sales, they buy their essentials. Everything is cleared before dark and next day morning there is no trace of this big market held. This is a place for communal harmony, a people to people meeting place to know and understand each other directly.
Many of us get lost in the Malls, but can find ourselves in these HAATs, mostly called Bazaar (which is probably of Persian origin), and want this tradition to live. Hence, this initiative has been taken to put together information of Haats or Bazaars near tourist destination to enable the tourists to visit them. This will give them a better understanding of the local people, their lifestyle and their joys in the small things. These Haats and Bazaars are ‘hubs for happiness’ for all, the buyer, seller and the visitor. Please email the information about your nearest Haat or Bazaar to atishdipankara@gmail.com and the same will be updated in this blog.

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